If nothing else, Rick Perry deserves points for hubris.
In California to stump up business for Texas -- including a proposed factory to build batteries for Teslas -- the governor responded to questions about the Texas GOP platform's endorsement of dangerous reparative therapy for LGBTQ individuals by comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," Perry told the Commonwealth Club of California, "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."
An expert on alcoholism at UT-Southwestern says that both alcoholism and homosexuality can be marked by biological indicators, but comparing the two is "apples and oranges."
"There's similarity in that, someone with the predisposition to be an alcoholic can choose never to drink alcohol," he says, "in the same way that [a gay person] could choose never to have sex, but why would you ask someone to do that?"
Rudy Oftering, a Perry supporter and vice president of the Metroplex Republicans, an LGBTQ friendly Republican group, took issue with Perry's comments.
"Some Republicans continue to insist that there is something wrong with being gay," he says. "Are we going to be the party of limited government or the party of limited tolerance?"
Dr. Steven Pounders, the primary care physician of Ron Woodruff of Dallas Buyers Club fame, says that Perry's pronouncement is dangerous and inconsistent with proper medical care.
"[Perry] continues to purport the notion homosexuality is a disease or a perversion when it's clearly been declared by all by all medical institutions as just a normal variant of human behavior," he says, "whereas alcoholism is certainly part of a continuum of obsessive compulsive disorders."
Perry's comments are especially harmful to young Texans, Pounders says.
"There's so many poor young people that are growing up and feeling alone because they aren't getting good support," he says, "hearing such comments from people who are looked to to lead us is just terribly awful."
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